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Trade fair W3+ Fair Rhine Valley enjoys successful start at new location

Rheintal , 24.09.2019


The exhibition centre in Dornbirn, Austria was the venue for the specialist trade fair W3+ Fair Rhine Valley, expanding for the first time into the four-countries region on the Rhine, after six years in the optics industry hub Wetzlar. Attendees confirmed the tremendous potential of this cross-sector event featuring four future-oriented industries under one roof. The next W3+ Fair Rhine Valley will be taking place on 23-24 September 2020.

Rhine Valley/ Hamburg, 30 September 2019. The 1st W3+ Fair Rhine Valley, (, which ended on 19 September in the Dornbirn exhibition centre in Vorarlberg, Austria, was a highly successful debut event. Over 100 national and international exhibitors and partners from the hi-tech optics, photonics, electronics and mechanics sectors, along with 1078 visitors convened for two days at the interface of Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to exchange ideas and share networks. 50 percent of all the exhibitors came from Germany, 25 percent from Switzerland, 17 percent from Austria and Liechtenstein, with the remaining coming from 6 other countries, including the Netherlands, the USA and Denmark. Locally based key players such as Swissoptic, Optics Balzers, Leica Geosystems and WZW Optic AG made an appearance. They were joined by numerous SMEs. “We have made a solid start with this innovative networking event hosted in the Rhine Valley,” said Christoph Rénevier, CEO of Fleet Events, the Hamburg-based event organiser. “A lot of people have told us that they really like the cross-sectoral concept here, and that has great potential. We want to build on this sound basis, and make this a long-term home for the trade fair.” A “meeting place for technologies” is how the exhibitor Optotech described the premiere of this event. The large-sized maker of optical manufacturing equipment, one of the global leaders in this area, was a long-standing exhibitor at the Wetzlar venue, and it used the new exhibition location to establish new contacts and maintain customer relations in the Rhine Valley region. APM Technica from Switzerland also give the event a thumbs-up: An expert in adhesive and coating technologies, it described the event concept as “straight to the point”. Biolago, the health industry network based in the transnational region of Lake Constance, also expressed its satisfaction: “The W3+ Fair delivers a varied programme of events, and provides the perfect opportunity to make new contacts”.


Expansive fringe programme and numerous contact opportunities

The 1st staging of W3+ Fair Rhine Valley was opened by President of the State Parliament Harald Sonderegger, the Mayor of Dornbirn, Andrea Kaufmann, the Vice-President of the Vorarlberg Chamber of Commerce, Petra Kreuzer, and the host of Dornbirn exhibition centre, Sabine Tichy-Treimel. The trade fair is sending out a positive signal to the local business and political scene, while providing a perfect platform for the large number of SMEs in the region. 

More than 40 outstanding speakers appearing on two stages, told visitors about innovations and tends in the areas of 3D printing, optics, photonics, and descrtibed application areas such as medical technology, life sciences, automotive, aerospace and consumer electronics, while also explaining the opportunities and risks brought by digitalization. These presentations were delivered by speakers from companies such as CSEM, Continental, Swisscom, Zumtobel and Swarovski Optik.

The 3D Printing special zone featured strongly with 1zu1 from Dornbirn, Alphacam, Personal Photonics and Haratech. In the Campus Area, the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences, NTB Interstate University of Technology Buchs and St. Gallen and the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons presented the latest findings gained from academic research. Other high-tech regions such as Wetzlar and Jena - appearing together on a Joint Thuringia stand - presented their own regional fund portfolios at W3+ Fair.

The AGV (Employers' Confederation) from Switzerland used the new high-tech trade fair to invite its members to attend the AGV Forum “Innovation and business models in the digital age”. The get-together hosted by Swissphotonics and Hessen Trade & Invest, HTAI, took place on the 1st day of the trade fair, and was followed by a seamless transition to the evening event “W3+ and friends”. This provided an opportunity for exhibitors to network with members of the AGV.

The first event was supported by a number of expert partners, including the national networks Photonics Austria and Swissphotonics, as well as the European Photonics Industry Consortium EPIC. WZW Optic AG, PM, Solarius, Toptica Photonics, S.I.E Solutions, Haratech and Hessen Trade & Invest HTAI sponsored the event.


Further information and photos at

About W3+ Fair

The event has its origins to an industry initiative in Wetzlar and the Central Hesse region, which seeks to boost networking within the three industrial sectors of optics, electronics and mechanics. The aim that these newly created interfaces will encourage the development of forward-looking technologies. The first trade fair took place in the Rittal Arena in Wetzlar in February 2014. The W3+ Fair/Convention is organised by FLEET Events of Hamburg ( The event takes its name from the Wetzlar Network ( The W3+ Fair Rhine Valley event was held for the first time in September 2019 in the transnational region of Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany. EPIC, Swissphotonics and Photonics Austria were Gold Partners to the event.

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